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More Words Matter in Continuous Improvement (CI)

During various on-site deliveries of our 'Lean Leadership' module, as well as presentations on this subject at conferences, I learned an important point about the term 'teaching'.  We often say that leaders need to 'teach'.  More specifically leaders should teach their direct reports and others with whom they come in contact about the direction of the business, and process improvement and problem solving methods, among other things.  However the term 'teacher' stirs up apprehension in some…


Added by Hank Czarnecki on January 12, 2013 at 9:00am — No Comments

What is the Return on Investment (ROI) for Quality Initiatives?

I am always  looking for information that will help me understand how Quality Initiatives benefit the user.  I have found an excellent article in Quality Progress (November 2012) written be Rip Stauffer and Debra Owens. 


Questions that need to be answered

  • Does Quality have a payoff?
  • Have quality management initiatives contributed significantly to organizations that implement them?

A study was conducted in the UK to answer the above…


Added by John David Hayes on January 10, 2013 at 11:31am — No Comments

ROI Is More Than Justification

Two thirds of corporate transformations fail to reach their goals, and many times the reason is that frontline employees are not engaged in creating solutions and do not feel a sense of ownership about the reasons for the change, writes Bo Vestergaard, professor at the University College of Northern Denmark and author of one of the Academy of Management Meeting's top ten best papers of 2012. According to a 2010…


Added by Hank Czarnecki on January 7, 2013 at 7:32am — No Comments

Collaboration is Critical

As our business environments become more and more complex, the ability to collaborate becomes critical for a leader. Collaboration is much more than partnership. It will take the leader of the future to collaborate with internal teams/employees, external suppliers/customers, and investors. For this reason, Kouzes and Posner (2007) list Commitment #7 Foster Collaboration as a critical piece of meeting the leadership challenges. “You simply can’t get extraordinary things done by yourself.…


Added by Jay Clark on December 27, 2012 at 10:00am — No Comments

Quality Professionals – Improve your Earning Potential

The earnings for 2012 Quality Professionals were essentially flat for 2012 (QP Magazine-2012 QP Salary Survey).  If you have ever had a question about your Quality salary, it is covered in this publication for December 2012.  Quality Professional naturally starts to question why their earning ability is basic stagnant.  We could blame it on the economy.  Or is it partly the fault of the professional.  You might ask:


  1.   Do I need more training?
  2.   Do I need to get…

Added by John David Hayes on December 18, 2012 at 5:36pm — No Comments

The Trust Factor

In Marshall Goldsmith’s (2003) research into global leaders of successful multinational companies, one of the important skills he identified was the ability to creat trust with employees. “The leader should treat coworkers as partners, not competitors, by sharing knowledge openly and honestly, and establishing an enduring relationship of trust” (p.68). I believe the ability to build trust in a relationship is one of the most beneficial…


Added by Jay Clark on December 17, 2012 at 4:30am — No Comments

Lean Implementation– People, Planning & Problem Solving

When beginning the Lean journey, several factors for selection and training must be taken into consideration or the results of the journey risk compromise.

1. Planning -- Training isn’t a budget line-item. It’s a pathway to success!

Training is discussed, it’s budgeted for, but often it’s never implemented. When business is good and operations are busy, management struggles to commit time for training. When business is poor and operations are slow, management…


Added by Hank Czarnecki on December 13, 2012 at 8:33am — No Comments

Shopping for Opportunities

One could easily argue that the foundation of Deming’s work in TQM was developing leaders on the front line who would search for opportunities to improve the process and product. In Commitment #5, I argue a similar process for leaders. The goal is not only to have front line leaders, but to have an organizational culture that shops for opportunities. To accomplish this goal, you must develop a servant leadership culture in your organization that will empower others to search for…


Added by Jay Clark on December 10, 2012 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Commitment #4 "Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations."

As we look at the next commitment in developing a servant leader culture in your organization, the focus moves to your followers. How does your vision motivate your employees? Is this a shared vision where everyone feels they are on the ‘same team’? A few months ago, I wrote on disruptive leadership and the misuse of power by using manipulation instead of motivation. The opposite of this type of disruptive action is for leaders to hold power as a servant leader.

“Servant leadership is…


Added by Jay Clark on December 3, 2012 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Envisioning the Future of a Servant Leader Culture

Over the last few weeks, we developed a Servant Leader’s Credo and audited specific actions to ensure that the values in the credo matched the actions of the leader. Now the ten commitments of a servant leader turn from looking to the past to envisioning the future. The vision is based on the desire to develop servant leaders in order to gain an advantage in your market. Through a servant leader culture, your organization will listen to customers more intensely, seek more understanding from…


Added by Jay Clark on November 20, 2012 at 2:30pm — No Comments

The Lean Guide to an Efficient and Sustainable Thanksgiving Holiday (From Jim G.)

As we all prepare to pace the aisles at our local grocery store, host friends and family (invited or not), or travel to them, Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on the past year and everything for which we are grateful. It's also a fitting moment to celebrate the glory and wondrousness of being something else: Lean.

You may have been thinking, "I can't wait to relax and get away from work for a few days," but why not take advantage of the time off to recharge and review some…


Added by Hank Czarnecki on November 19, 2012 at 7:35am — No Comments

Servant Leaders Set the Example

Now that you have completed the Servant Leader’s Credo, we move to leadership commitment #2, which is “Set the example by aligning actions with shared values.” In the credo, you established a set of values that you thought critical to the success of your organization. Now the process of developing your organization into a culture of servant leadership moves to aligning these values with your day-to-day actions. At this part of the process, your actions speak louder than your… Continue

Added by Jay Clark on November 12, 2012 at 3:00pm — No Comments

The "Merits" of Merit Pay

As the end of the year approaches many organizations will be conducting annual performance appraisals for their employees. Based on the results of these appraisals, many employees will also receive some form of reward for their performance, often in the form of a modest pay raise, which is called merit pay. But does merit pay actually promote ongoing high performance?

According to a recent review (1) of the pay-for-performance literature, approximately 90% of employers offer…


Added by Brian Flynn on November 9, 2012 at 10:15am — No Comments

Servant Leader Credo

Last week, we identified the advantages of creating a culture of servant leadership in your organization. The benefit could be a return as high as 10-20% increase in your bottom line. In order to help in developing a process of creating a culture of servant leadership in your organization, I identified Kouzes and Posner’s 10 commitments to leadership as a tool to help develop a servant leadership culture.


To start this process, it is important to properly define servant…


Added by Jay Clark on November 4, 2012 at 10:07pm — No Comments

What should Management be doing in an Economic Downturn?


I read an article written by Ronald D Snee and Roger W Roles in the Quality Progress, May 2009 that was true then and also true today.  I summarized the article below.

The more I learn and read about W, Edwards Deming the more I like him.  We could have been best buddies.  Ed said: “survival is not mandatory”.

This is not hard to determine when you are in a “downturn”.  Money is extremely tight and projects are scares.  Money is only being spent on what…


Added by John David Hayes on October 31, 2012 at 2:25pm — No Comments

How do we get more companies to use Lean Six Sigma (LSS)?



I’ve read articles lately that imply that LSS aren’t working for companies.  An example was given that Motorola, GE and Bank of America have not out preformed the market during the time they were using LSS.  Since LSS is not the only factor in running a profitable business; such things as a poor economy, actions of the competition and bad decisions made by Management are factors in this equation.  My question would be where would…


Added by John David Hayes on October 30, 2012 at 5:01pm — No Comments

How do organizations create a servant leadership culture?

Recently, I ran across an article in Industry Today entitled “Servant leadership sustains Competitive U.S. Manufacturing Advantage.” I started digging deeper into the article to understand specifically about how servant leadership benefits manufacturing organizations. The article’s main thesis is that one thing your competitors, both globally and locally, cannot copy is the development of your leadership. By increasing servant leaders in your organization, they “will organize,…


Added by Jay Clark on October 29, 2012 at 3:30pm — No Comments

Lean 101

What I see in American Industry today is focusing on the tools of lean vrs. teaching team members why we want to be a globial leader in our industry. I believe once team members buy in on why we want a lean culture then we can teach the tools. I think we've got it backwards.

Added by Charles C. Hunt on October 22, 2012 at 11:38am — No Comments

Creativity through Servant Leadership

Is manufacturing a product as LEAN as possible the end goal of a manufacturing leader? Are there other leadership skills needed in order to help make LEAN and Six Sigma more effective? The answer to these two questions points to the same area. By looking closely at the act of leadership through quality movements, the key point is that servant leaders in manufacturing not only build Lean processes for manufacturing their products, but they do so through actions that create the right…


Added by Jay Clark on October 19, 2012 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Six Sigma will not work as a continuous process improvement tool without Management support


Reference:    Journal of Operations Management 25(2007) 918-93, Article: “Method and context perspective on learning and knowledge creation in Quality Management.”  By Adrian S. Schoo, Kevin W. Linderman and Roger G. Schoder.

We are all looking for an approach to problem solving that will not only work on the first two or three projects will survive the test of time and be the continuous improvement approach for our process or service.  The big question is how…


Added by John David Hayes on October 16, 2012 at 12:42pm — No Comments

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